During the eight games that Aaron Rodgers started and finished, Nelson caught 49 passes for 810 yards and seven touchdowns. Put those numbers together over the course of 16 games, and you get 98 receptions for 1,620 yards and 14 touchdowns, with an average of 16.5 yards per reception.
That production would have given Nelson one of the great receiving seasons in NFL history.
Nelson's receptions total would have tied for 86th in NFL history and put him within range of just the 81st 100-catch season of all-time.
His yardage count would have ranked 14th in NFL history and fallen 27 yards short of No. 10 all-time.
The touchdown total would have tied for 32nd in NFL history, one short of his 20th-ranked 15 touchdowns in 2011.
Among players with at least 75 receptions, Nelson's 16.53 yards per reception would have ranked 33rd.
In Packers history, Nelson's numbers would have rivaled anything accomplished by the likes of Sterling Sharpe and Don Hutson.
Only Sharpe (112 receptions in 1993 and 108 receptions in 1992) and Robert Brooks (102 receptions in 1995) had more catches in a season. Nelson's yardage total would have obliterated Brooks' team-record 1,497 yards established in 1995. His touchdown count would have given him two of the top four marks in franchise history, trailing Sharpe's 18 touchdowns in 1994, Don Hutson's 17 in 1942 and Nelson's 15 in 2011.
Incredibly, hardly anyone outside of Green Bay took notice of Nelson's superior production. In the eight games with Rodgers, his season-low reception total was three. That came against Washington, a game in which he scored two touchdowns. He had at least seven catches in four of those games and topped the 100-yard mark four times.
"That's what makes him a great pro," receivers coach Edgar Bennett said about Nelson's consistency. "You talk about leadership, this is how you do it. If you want to be successful in this business, here is one blueprint that you can look at for success. Here's a guy who walked on in college — so nothing was given to him. And that's what we talk about every day — you've got to earn it. That's the mind-set. If you walk in here thinking you're entitled to something, you set yourself up for failure. He's the blueprint. You see him, you look at how he conducts himself on and off the field — class. In the classroom, he's a leader. On the field, he's a leader. At practice, he's a leader. You wish all your guys shared that competitive nature, that mind-set, that attitude, that drive, that professionalism, as far as what it takes to be a true pro. He's that guy. I kept saying it last year: He's one of the best at his position. No doubt about it. He's one of the best at his position. He should've went to the Pro Bowl last year. But that's fine and dandy."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.